Parkinson’s is a progressive, neurological disorder, which so far cannot be cured.
It is variable in its progression and is caused by a shortage of dopamine, a chemical that helps instructions from the brain to cross from one nerve cell to the next.
This occurs in a part of the brain called the substantia nigra, which involves controlling movement.
Chairperson of the Waterford/South East branch of the Parkinson’s Association of Ireland is Mary Myler and Secretary is Kay Murphy.
Mary was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2005.
“I was devastated. I had just retired and it came into my life very gradually,” she explained.
“It is a disease. None of us want it, but we have it and we’ve got to deal with it.”
Kay explained that her diagnosis had a devastating impact on her day to day life.
“I was used to a busy lifestyle. I went from that lifestyle to taking much longer to do everything,” she said.
Both ladies believe there isn’t enough support or recognition given to Parkinson’s.
“It’s not seen as a fashionable disease,” said Kay.
There are around 25 members of the local branch, but Mary and Kay said they would like to see more men join the group as they are often reluctant to seek help.
The special Midwinter Ball event takes place at Waterford Castle on December 18th at 7pm and will feature a mulled wine reception as well as a sumptuous five course meal.
Carol singers will be in attendance to add to the festive cheer and music will also be provided by Carol & Martin along with The Beachcombers.
Keeping active is crucially important in dealing with Parkinson’s, and local members participate in a wide range of activities including dancing, vocal exercises and bocce.
A dance teacher from Limerick will be in attendance at the Midwinter Ball to highlight the benefits of dancing for Parkinson’s sufferers. Tickets for this special event cost €55.
For more information, contact Mary on 089-4591675 or Kay on 086-0720218.